Thursday, July 24, 2014

Restyling Pants

As I've mentioned before, I love the thrift store.  One of the biggest problems with thrift stores is that the items are usually a few seasons out of style.  One clothing item that you can save the most money on but are often the most out of style is pants.  Goodwill and other thrift stores sell pants for about $5.  Since brand name pants can cost you $50-$100+, buying used is a great deal.  Skinny cut pants are still all the rage, but they're almost impossible to find in good brands at the thrift store.  The solution is to buy a pair of boot cut or flare pants (which take up most of the racks at thrift stores) that fit you well in the waist and butt.  Then, following this tutorial make them into the skinny pants of your dreams.

Not a skinny fan?  You can still use this tutorial to take any style of pant and turn it into a more narrow style of pant.  Examples include:  Wide leg to a straight leg, flare into a boot cut, etc.

Materials:  Pants (one pair to sew, one pair you like the cut of), sewing machine, thread, ruler, marking pencil

Some things to consider when buying pants to restyle:
  • Make sure the pants are still in good condition.  You don't want to go through this work to have the pants be bad to start with
  • The tighter you want your finished product to be, the more stretch you want in your pair of pants.  If you're going for an ultra skinny, you need some stretch.  If you're going for a cigarette pant or straight leg, no stretch will be fine
  • Consider the starting length of your pants.  The pants will be the same length when you're finished.  If they're too long now, they'll be too long later.
I started with this Chino pant and wanted to make it into a skinny:

1.  Turn your pants inside out and lay them flat.  Make sure the seam you are going to take in (either the outside seam or the inseam) is completely flat.  I chose to do the inseam because the outside seam on these pants had some detail on it; if there's no detail, I prefer to use the outside seam.

2.  Lay a pair of pants you like the cut of over top the other pants.  This pair of pants will essentially serve as your template for your new pants (I used my favorite skinny jeans.)  Make sure to line the waist bands up. Then, line the legs of the pants up with the opposite seams (the one you won't be sewing).

3.  Using a marking pencil, trace the new leg line for you pants.  Take your pencil down along the template pair of pants and make marks the whole way down each leg.  This will be the line you sew along later.

4.  Use a ruler to make sure your line is even on both legs.  You don't want to have one pant leg tighter than the other when you're finished.

5.  Run a seam down the line you drew in step 3.  Repeat for the second pant leg.

6.  Before moving on, flip your pants right side out, and try on your pants.  If you like how they fit, move on to the next step.  If you've made the pant legs too tight or too loose, now is the time to fix it.  If the legs are too tight, seam rip the seam you just made; make a new seam at 1/4" or more inside of your line (towards the seam the pants had to start with.)  If the legs are too loose, you can keep that first seam and just run a new seam 1/4" or more outside of that seam.  Keep checking until you're happy.  Then, turn your pants inside out again.

7.  Run a zigzag stitch on the outer edge of the new leg seam.  Repeat on second leg.  This will prevent fraying later.

8.  Cut off the extra fabric in the seam you created.  Cut just on the outside of the zigzag stitch.

9.  Put on your pants and enjoy being in style and saving money.

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